Pro-Palestinian Activists Push Cause as Protests Against Donald Trump Roil Nation

As thousands of protestors rally in the days after Donald Trump’s upset victory in last week’s election against Hillary Clinton, pro-Palestinian activists are joining their ranks — and hope to join their national struggle to the growing protest movement in America.

“The fight is not easy back home and it’s not easy here now with Donald Trump as president,” said an activist from the Palestinian Youth Movement in Los Angeles. “We do have a dictator back home, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu.”

“I thank you for including Palestine in your struggle against injustice,” the young activist, unnamed in the posting, said in a video on Facebook.

Trump rode a wave of angry nationalism to his seat in the White House. His election has left many minorities and leftist activists fearful of what the next four years will look like. Trump was a champion to the “alt-right,” a populist movement with white nationalist affiliates who harassed Jews, Muslims and immigrants on social media.

The participation of pro-Palestinian activists in anti-Trump protests further exposes ideological and political rifts tearing through the Jewish establishment in the days after Trump’s election.

While center and left-leaning groups are condemning Trump for courting anti-Semitic followers, hawkish right-wing Jewish groups are rallying to Trump’s side, defending Trump as a staunch supporter of Israel. Conservative websites including the Algemeiner and Legal Insurrection, wrote that the Palestinian protestors were “seeking to co-opt the left-wing protests” for their own aims.

“How will this end?” a blogger on Legal Insurrection asked. “The way it usually ends in these hijackings — anti-Israel activists damage the movement they supposedly support.”

But Palestinian groups see their activism as part of broader resistance to the Trump presidency and, in protesting the Trump win, believe they are finding common ground with others opposed to Trump, including Jewish groups appalled by his white nationalist supporters.

“If you’re stuck wondering what to do with a Trump administration looming, here are three tangible steps you can take to support Palestine activism,” the advocacy group Palestine Legal wrote on Facebook, providing legal resources for “students scholars and activists.”

In the streets of New York City, Palestinian flags were hoisted. Other chanted, “Free, free Palestine. Long live Palestine” and “There is only one solution, intifada, revolution,” using an Arabic word for “uprising.”

Email Sam Kestenbaum at and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum


Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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